Is it Malpractice if a Doctor Fails to Refer a Patient in New Jersey?

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When people train to become doctors, they can do so in a variety of fields. While some doctors are general practitioners, others become specialists. There are many cases in which general practitioners discover a symptom or condition they are not able to treat. When this happens, they can refer the patient to see a specialist who can. If a doctor fails to follow the proper standard of care in referring a patient, they may be held liable for any further suffering that ensues. Continue reading below to learn more.

When is a Doctor Referral Necessary?

When a doctor-patient relationship is established, it requires the doctor to treat the patient until either treatment is no longer needed or the patient terminates the relationship. Part of providing them with treatment means referring the patient to see a specialist if they are unable to provide care themselves. This must be done in line with the proper “standard of care.” This is determined by how other doctors with similar qualifications would handle the same situation. If another doctor would refer the patient, then it is required. If they deviate from the proper standard of care, the patient can pursue legal action for any further suffering. 

How Can the Failure to Refer Harm a Patient?

When a doctor fails to refer a patient who needs further help, it can cause serious harm as a result. Examples of issues that can arise from the failure to refer can include:

  • The condition or illness worsening to the point of being irreversible 
  • A misdiagnosis of a condition or illness due to insufficient knowledge
  • A delayed or missed diagnosis caused by the failure to refer a patient 

The failure to refer a patient can also cause fatalities in some cases. When this happens, the family of the patient can pursue legal action to recover compensation for any medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering they incurred as a result.

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Retaining an attorney after an injury-causing accident is the most effective way to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are legally entitled. To learn more about how we can help you, call the Wilton Law Firm today at 732-275-9555 or send us an email through our online contact form.